from the I-don't-really-like-the-product-I-sell dept
"Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, director of FiOS TV, has a confession, and it doesn't bode well for the future of Verizon's fixed-line video business. "I've pretty much cut the cord," Krishnaswamy admitted on a panel at the TV of Tomorrow event in New York City. Krishnaswamy is bullish on Verizon's new Go90 mobile video service, but she readily acknowledges there are major challenges in the traditional pay-TV business.For all its faults, Verizon executives have been considerably more progressive than its industry counterparts when it comes to cord cutting, at times being actually able to admit a massive change is on the wind. And Verizon has responded by being one of the only companies to embrace more flexible TV channel lineups, including its recent launch of a so-called skinny bundle that takes the most expensive part of the cable lineup (sports, ESPN) and places it outside of the core channel offering. Such a move was TV industry heresy, and Verizon was sued by ESPN for its efforts.
That's not to say Verizon's approach to battling cord cutting hasn't been without faults. While Verizon is offering new skinny bundles that are less expensive than the company's traditional cable options, it hasn't been able to entirely shake its legacy telco DNA. As such, the offerings are loaded with the usual sneaky below-the-line fees and device rental charges that jack up the price of the service post sale. Old habits die hard.
As for innovating, like most cable companies, Verizon finds itself torn between wanting to offer a kick-ass, disruptive product, and being terrified of cannibalizing its existing legacy TV customers. The end result for most cable companies is a smattering of services like TV Everywhere that talk a lot about innovation, flexibility and value, but are crafted by people too terrified to actually commit. And while Verizon clearly believes its new Go90 wireless streaming service will make the stodgy telco sexy to Millennials, the service has been maligned as a clumsy smattering of shows Verizon's target demo is already getting elsewhere.
While it's impressive that Verizon recognizes the future and is taking steps toward adaptation, it's important to remember this is the same company currently suing to dismantle net neutrality. And while company execs might be willing to admit they cut the cord, they'll never accept the reality that if history is any indication, it's going to be smaller, hungrier, companies that actually revolutionize the TV sector.